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Core Principles: 3D Scanning Methods for Forensic Scenes and Evidence

Primary Course Instructors: Dennis Dirkmaat, Ph.D., D-ABFA; Michael J Hochrein, Special Agent FBI, Ret.; and Todd Jester, Precision Laser and Instrument, Inc.

This 5-day course will introduce students to the new world of 3D scanning in the documentation of forensic scenes (both indoor and outdoor), and forensic evidence (including human skeletal remains).


Three (3) days of the course will be devoted to the presentation of standard and high-end documentation and mapping protocols applicable to the outdoor and indoor crime scene, from surface-scatter remains on the surface, to buried bodies, fatal fires and even the mass disaster scenes. The employment of electronic total stations, 3D scene scanners, drones, and even hand-held 3D scanners will be discussed in detail. Standard practices and protocols will be presented along with useful tips and guidance on how to process the scans in the laboratory. Lots of hands-on opportunities will be provided


Two mock forensic scenes will be created (indoor and outdoor) and processed using the latest mapping techniques and technology to document and map the scenes employing state-of-the-art technology (total stations, drones, 3D scene scanners). Focus will be on how to incorporate 3D scanner technology into the documentation of the outdoor scene and indoor scene. Survey-grade GPS units (Trimble --), electronic total stations (Trimble --), and hand-held 3D scanners (Artec Leo) will be demonstrated.


The last 2 days of the course will detail the 3D scanning of evidence and artifacts in the laboratory with the Artec Space Spider, focusing on the documentation of human skeletal remains. Guidance in the processing of the remains will also be provided by experts in the field of 3D Scanning.


This course is appropriate for law enforcement and medicolegal professionals who are documenting crime scenes, as well as students in the forensic sciences, bioanthropological sciences, and many others.

Course Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA


Course Participants: Individuals over 18yrs of age. Limed to 20 participants.

  1. College and University students (undergraduate and graduate);

  2. College professors and instructors (teaching classes in Forensic Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Forensic Science, Criminalistics, Medicolegal Death Investigation, and Criminal Law); and

  3. Professionals in law enforcement, criminal investigation, medicolegal death investigation, and the legal profession (prosecutors, defense attorneys).

June 13-17, 2022


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